One in every four people entering the hospital will need blood. Although an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, less than 10 percent of that eligible population actually donates each year.
Each year, St. Mary’s Dominican High School seniors donate blood during the annual Ochsner Blood Drive that takes place here at Dominican. In October, however, an overwhelming number of seniors responded to the blood drive.
This year, 56 seniors donated, and Ochsner collected 45 useful pints of blood, according to Senior Faculty Coordinator Ms. Charlene Ford (’01). Ms. Ford said that this was the largest turnout of seniors in recent memory.
The blood collected by Ochsner will help a tremendous amount of people, said Ochsner Blood Bank Representative Ms. Cassie Havrilla. This blood donation will help 135 patients in need of blood and/or blood products.
Donated blood is used to help cancer patients, transplant patients and trauma victims. Blood is used in surgery, childbirth and blood disorders treatments. Donated blood can be used for patients of all ages, including children and young adults, according to Ms. Havrilla.
Ochsner credits high schools with nearly 20% of all the blood that it collects. Dominican students help save hundreds of lives each year by donating at the annual blood drive.
“We couldn’t do what we do without you,” said Ms. Havrilla. Since blood cannot be synthetically created, Ochsner relies solely on blood donations to provide patients with the blood or blood products they may need.
Ochsner collected blood from 56 donors, which is extremely high compared to other years. “Ochsner is overjoyed, grateful and humbled by the number of people that donated this year,” said Ms. Havrilla. “It’s a true testament to the generosity and kind spirit of the senior class.”
On donation day, senior lined up in the Siena Atrium, eager to donate blood. “First time donors may be nervous at first, but once they donate they are confident and proud of their donation. These students are one thing: brave,” said Ms. Havrilla.
Senior Susan Endom recalled her emotions the day of the blood drive. “I wasn’t too nervous before donating, but I was scared as soon as I saw the needle going in my arm,” she said. “After a while, it wasn’t that bad, but the sight of my own blood was pretty weird.” Endom said she dealt with her anxiety because she knew “it’s important to give blood for those who need it.”
According to senior Chloe Mendy, she “discovered a whole new way to help other people, and she was inspired to give again.
“I had never donated blood before, and I knew it was for a great cause. I knew I could possibly save someone’s life just by donating,” said Mendy.
To show appreciation for the donations, Ochsner offers a scholarship to a student who donated. Each donors name has been entered into a raffle for a chance to win a scholarship from Ochsner to be put towards college expenses. The winner will be announced in the spring.
Ochsner reports that by the end of the 2017-2018 school year, the Ochsner Blood Bank Scholarship Program will have contributed almost $100k in scholarships to area high school students. Ochsner offers this scholarship drawing as a way to thank all the students who support the blood drive each year.
Due to the overwhelming response from those wishing to donate, Dominican will host another blood drive with Ochsner in the spring. On Friday, March 2, Ochsner employees will return to DHS to conduct another blood drive for those unable to donate at the first blood drive.
Seniors, be on the lookout to sign up for the second blood drive in March to help those in need.
- Brooklyn Comeaux